Here’s another little snippet of video from Mike Cook. This game is one of the projects you’ll be able to make with Raspberry Pi for Dummies (click the link to learn more), by Mike (hardware) and Sean McManus (everything else).
Watching this reminds me that I had a crush on Virgil Tracy when I was about six, despite the fact that he was made of balsa wood.
Wherever you are in the world, you’ve probably heard something about the recent horsemeat adulteration scandal in Europe, where cheap beef mince products like lasagna and frozen burgers turned out to be anything up to 100% horse. In Abattoir! you’ll be making sure that only delicious cow makes it into the mincer. Have a look at this video for some gameplay.
Readers of a certain age are in for a shot of delicious nostalgia today. Back in the dawn of time (i.e. the 1990s), many of us had our first taste of multiplayer gaming in text mode, playing things called MUDs, or Multi-User Dungeons. MUDs are where games like World of Warcraft and virtual worlds like Second Life have their roots – and they were enormous fun.
Duncan Jauncey wrote something called Alternate Universe MUD ten years ago, and he’s just ported it to the Pi.
It’s really been interesting watching the Pi Store fill up with content. Today we approved OpenArena for the Raspberry Pi – if you played Quake III, OpenArena will be shockingly familiar. It’s a multiplayer first person shooter (FPS) based on Quake III, using a fork of the same game engine, and it’s free and open-source. Because there is blood and guns, we’ve marked the download with an adult content sticker.
OpenArena running on DaveSpice’s enviable Pi/Motorola Lapdock setup. Click to enlarge.
We know Quake and its derivatives are popular around here: one of the first videos we ever released of the Raspberry Pi, pre-release, in the summer of 2011, was a demo of Quake III running with all the visual settings turned up to maximum. It kind of surprised us by getting more than a million hits on YouTube.
The devs at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the mods, and the guys at IndieCity are already talking about setting up some semiofficial tournaments – let us know if you’re interested!
This is one for you retro gamers: a Raspbian remix from Carles Oriol that turns your Pi into a whole suitcase-full of emulated hardware, from the Spectrum to a MAME cabinet, via the Oric-1, Atari 2600, Apple II and lots of other stuff besides.
Carles Oriol popped up briefly on Twitter earlier in the week to post this video, then vanished before I was able to get him to point me at a disk image. Happily, I was able to track him down on our forums, and from there to the Chameleon web site. You’ll find a torrent of the image, instructions for adding more emulators to the menu, more video, some words on each of the emulators and a little readme. We absolutely love it: there’s an SD card on my desk with this remix on it, and it’s not getting overwritten any time soon. Thanks Carles!
FamiLAB is a hackspace in Orlando, Florida that Eben and I had a really great time visiting back in October. It’s hidden away in an industrial unit – it’s a big space, with its own commercial-sized CNC milling machine, 3d printers, laser cutters, an in-progress replica of the Bridge from Star Trek: TNG, some traffic lights, a cherry picker and a whole bunch of computers – broadly speaking, it’s pretty close to heaven. And it’s full of some great people, who use the space to get together, eat pizza, learn things (just this week their timetable include tutorials with the Pi, with Arduino, a microcontrollers show-and-tell session, a learn-to-solder session and an intro to Scratch), and make really, really cool stuff.
Ted from Familab has made a Raspberry Pi SNES hack with a difference. We see quite a few really nice little projects where an old console is gutted, a Pi stuffed inside, and the games run on the Pi. This is a bit different. It’s not just a casemod; it’s a Super Nintendo emulated on the original hardware; and it even reads (and stores the information from) old cartridges; it can write saves to them too!
As well as an ARM processor, the Raspberry Pi’s system on a chip (SoC) also contains 48 extra processors optimised for the calculations involved in 3d graphics.
As an example of how to use these processors on the Raspberry Pi, Peter de Rivaz (an old and revoltingly clever friend of ours, who has been doing Raspberry Pi development work in his spare time) has written a charityware 3d physics puzzler, using them to draw dynamic clouds, shadows, water reflections, and lots and lots of penguins.
Visit penguinspuzzle.appspot.com for instructions on installing this game on the Raspian “wheezy” OS, or to play a WebGL version in your browser if you haven’t got a Pi yet.
The source code is freely available on github if you want to have a go at writing your own 3d game. If you do, let us know about it – we’d love to see what you come up with!
I’m starting to think we should be giving this kid a weekly spot. Now, I’m having to rush around a bit today, so won’t have time for a screed of text for you; instead, here’s Philip’s third game in Scratch.
What we’re really enjoying about Philip’s videos is the way the games are getting a little more sophisticated each time. I’ve encouraged him to submit his code in our Summer Programming Competition – there are only a few days to go for you to get your entries in, and a lot of you seem to have been spending your summer writing stuff for us. Get cracking with the entry form if you haven’t already!
Eben and I are travelling to Edinburgh today for the Turing Festival, a technology festival that runs at the same time as the Edinburgh Festival. Eben’s giving a talk on education and technology on Saturday; we’re very excited to be at the same event as Steve Wozniak, and hope to be eating many square sausages and black puddings.
So we’ll be rather absent from the internet today, because Edinburgh’s a long way away from Cambridge. Here are some bits and pieces to keep you occupied.
Maplin Raspberry Pi bundle. Click image to pre-order.
Maplin, the UK electronics company, are selling a Raspberry Pi bundle, which includes a Raspberry Pi and all the peripherals you might need to get started, from September. You can pre-order now if you want to get ahead of the crowd (orders are first-come, first-served), and they’ll arrive in stores next month. We think the kit will make a great Christmas present, especially if you know any young people who might have trouble rustling up things like wi-fi dongles and USB hubs on their own. For £69 you’ll get a Raspberry Pi, keyboard and mouse, an SD card pre-loaded with Raspbian, a powered USB hub, HDMI and USB cables, a power supply and a wi-fi dongle.
Seven-year-old Philip, whom you may remember from last week, has spent another week programming in Scratch with his Raspberry Pi and has another game to show us. Dad tells me that Philip’s plush parrot, who features heavily in this video, doesn’t have a name yet: please leave suggestions in the comments!
We can’t get enough of videos and pictures like this at the Foundation. If you’re a proud parent with a Raspberry Pi-wielding kid, or if you’re a kid yourself, and you’ve got video or pictures you’d like us to share on this website, please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org – we really like to remind ourselves and everybody else that this sort of thing is what the Raspberry Pi project is all about.
And some grown-ups have been working on stuff too…
You may have already read about Dave Hunt’s DSLR hack – it went viral last week. He’s embedded a Raspberry Pi in a camera battery grip, which allows him to wirelessly tether his camera to…well, whatever he’s got on his network. He’s been automatically pushing pictures to other devices, controlling the camera with networked objects (a smartphone, a PC), making it respond to a remote trigger, auto-saving pictures to a USB drive – the Raspberry Pi also works as an intervalometer, and he can use it to program aperture and exposure settings. He’s got big ideas for further development, too, with plans for an additional screen and an internal power supply. Here’s a videoof the camera sending images to an iPad, with some example Perl script.
Off-the-shelf DSLR cameras with these kinds of functions typically run into the many thousands of pounds. Dave’s done it all with a $35 Raspberry Pi. More power to your thrifty, imaginative elbow, Dave.
And have you come across Nixie clocks? These cold-cathode tube clocks have been a bit of a web fetish for a little while now, but this one, from Martin Oldfield, is the first one I’ve seen being driven by a Raspberry Pi. I’m going to hack one of these together myself when I get some time; it’s a lovely looking thing, and putting one together at home is simpler than you’d think.
Meanwhile, in Germany, a Cherry G80-3000 keyboard (one of those fabulous mechanical keyboards with a lovely clicky action, like my now-deceased IBM Model M but from this decade) has been hacked to contain a Raspberry Pi, hidden in some space under the function keys – a whole computer in a keyboard. I feel like we’ve seen this kind of thing before.
Please spread this Jam
The Raspberry Jams continue around the world – Milton Keynes, Bristol and Melbourne, Australia (which happened very shortly before I wrote this post on Tuesday night, so I don’t have any bloggy links about it yet), have seen Jams in the last few days. These events are a great way to meet other Raspberry Pi users, get a start if you’re a kid or just a grown-up who wants to learn about programming and electronics, and to show off your projects.
Raspberry Pi and something much bigger. (It's an evaluation board from Heber, who sponsored the Bristol Raspberry Jam.)
Our good friend Alan “Teknoteacher” Donohoe, who does a phenomenal amount of work organising and promoting the Jams, maintains a page describing where and when all the Jams across the world are being held. We’re seeing venues as small as local cafes and venues as large as university auditoriums being used for groups of all sizes, and people aged from 14 to 70 setting the events up. The list is growing all the time; if there isn’t one near you yet, why not set one up yourself?
A lot of people of a certain age (cough – that’d be me) have been using their Raspberry Pis to play the games that we wasted spent endless 10p coins on down at the arcade when we were kids. MAME (the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is a really popular download for the Raspberry Pi, and you can run an increasing number of games on your Pi as developers in the community work on recompiling for Raspbian. Below, for example, is the most excellent Metal Slug 3. (If you want a MAME download for your own Raspberry Pi, Shea Silverman has a handy little tutorial on his site along with the relevant binaries.)
I don’t know about you, but I find that what controller you use has a massive impact on the satisfaction you get from a game. Sure, you can use keyboard commands, but a joystick built for the game is a tremendously cheering thing. And sure, you can use a modern USB joystick – but where’s the fun in that?
Chris Swan thinks so too, and has hacked a lovely 1980s Competition Pro 5000 (hurrah for eBay) to work with the GPIO pins on his Raspberry Pi.
The Competition Pro 5000 - back in the day, the Amiga user's joystick of choice. I'm looking at my DualShock3 PS3 controller and experiencing feelings of vertigo.
If you want to adapt your own retro joystick, there are hardware instructions and Python script to get everything working on his site. Frankly, the whole thing has me feeling like a 9-year-old with a bad haircut and twitchy thumbs again. Thanks Chris!